Video

Aiye by XTsamurai

This is a Rock music video by a talented up and coming Nigerian musician.
Show some love and encouragement by watching, liking and sharing.
Thanks y’all.

Advertisements

Africa: where black is not really beautiful

South Africa is marketed to the world as Mandela’s rainbow nation, where everyone is proud of their race and heritage. But for some black South Africans there is such a thing as being too black.

A recent study by the University of Cape Town suggests that one woman in three in South Africa bleaches her skin. The reasons for this are as varied as the cultures in this country but most people say they use skin-lighteners because they want “white skin”.

Local musician Nomasonto “Mshoza” Mnisi, now several shades lighter, says her new skin makes her feel more beautiful and confident.

She has been widely criticised in the local media and social networking sites for her appearance but the 30-year-old says skin-bleaching is a personal choice, no different from breast implants or a having nose job.

“I’ve been black and dark-skinned for many years, I wanted to see the other side. I wanted to see what it would be like to be white and I’m happy,” she says candidly.

Over the past couple of years Ms Mnisi has had several treatments. Each session can cost around 5,000 rand (£360; $590), she tells the BBC.

Unlike many in the country, she uses high-end products which are believed to be safer than the creams sold on the black market but they are by no means risk-free, doctors say.

Costly beauty

Ms Mnisi says she does not understand the criticism about her new appearance.

“Yes, part of it is a self-esteem issue and I have addressed that and I am happy now. I’m not white inside, I’m not really fluent in English, I have black kids. I’m a township girl, I’ve just changed the way I look on the outside,” she says.

The dangers associated with the use of some of these creams include blood cancers such as leukaemia and cancers of the liver and kidneys, as well as a severe skin condition called ochronosis, a form of hyper-pigmentation which causes the skin to turn a dark purple shade, according to senior researcher at the University of Cape Town, Dr Lester Davids.

“Very few people in South Africa and Africa know the concentration of the toxic compounds that are contained in the products on the black market and that is concerning. We need to do more to educate people about these dangerous products,” says Dr Davids.

He says over the past six years there has been a significant increase in the number of skin lighteners flooding local markets, some of them legal and some illegal. This is what prompted their research.

Local dermatologists say they are seeing more and more patients whose skin has been damaged by years of bleaching – most of the time irreversibly.

“I’m getting patients from all over Africa needing help with treating their ochronosis. There is very little we can do to reverse the damage and yet people are still in denial about the side-effects of these products,” says Dr Noora Moti-Joosub.

In many parts of Africa and Asia, lighter-skinned woman are considered more beautiful, are believed to be more successful and more likely to find marriage.

The origin of this belief in Africa is not clear, but researchers have linked it to Africa’s colonial history where white skin was the epitome of beauty.

Some have also suggested that people from “brown nations” around the world tended to look down upon dark-skinned people.

‘I don’t like black skin’

The World Health Organization has reported that Nigerians are the highest users of such products: 77% of Nigerian women use the products on a regular basis. They are followed by Togo with 59%; South Africa with 35%; and Mali at 25%.
Studies have found that men are also beginning to bleach their skin
South Africa banned products containing more than 2% of hydroquinone – the most common active ingredient in in the 1980s. But it is easy to see creams and lotions containing the chemical on the stalls here. Some creams contain harmful steroids and others mercury.

While skin-lightening creams have been used by some South Africans for many years, they have become more common recently with the influx of people from countries such as Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo, where they are even more widespread.

In a bustling African market in the centre of Yeoville in Johannesburg, it is skin lighteners galore.

Walking through this community is like walking through a mini-Africa: you can find someone from any part of the continent here.

I notice that many of the women have uncharacteristically light skin faces while the rest of their bodies are darker.

Some even have scabby burns on their cheeks from the harmful chemicals used to strip the skin of pigmentation.

They don’t want to speak openly about why they bleach their skin, or even have their pictures taken.

Psychologists say there are also underlying reasons why people bleach their skin – but low self-esteem and, to some degree self-hate, are a common thread.

But skin-lightening is not just a fascination and obsession of women. Congolese hair stylist Jackson Marcelle says he has been using special injections to bleach his skin for the past 10 years. Each injection lasts for six months.

“I pray every day and I ask God, ‘God why did you make me black?’ I don’t like being black. I don’t like black skin,” he tells me.

Skin lightening creams are popular in many parts of Africa
Mr Marcelle – known in this busy community as Africa’s Michael Jackson – says his mother used to apply creams on him when he was young in order to make him appear “less black”.

“I like white people. Black people are seen as dangerous; that’s why I don’t like being black. People treat me better now because I look like I’m white,” he adds.

Entrenched in the minds of many Africans from a young age is the adage “if it’s white, it’s all right”, a belief that has chipped away at the self-esteem of millions.

Until this changes, no amount of official bans or public information campaigns will stop people risking serious damage to their health in the pursuit of what they think is beauty.

Culled from BBC News

‘Things Fall Apart’ author Chinua Achebe dies

(CNN) – Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, acclaimed in part for his groundbreaking 1958 novel “Things Fall Apart,” has died, his British publisher, Penguin Books, said Friday.

He was 82.

An author of more than 20 books, his honors included the 2007 Man Booker International Prize for Fiction.

He was also accorded his country’s highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award.

Achebe is a major part of African literature, and is popular all over the continent for his novels, especially “Anthills of the Savannah,” which was itself shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1987, and “Things Fall Apart.”

The latter was required reading in countless high schools and colleges in the continent, and has been translated into dozens of languages.

Set in precolonial Nigeria, “Things Fall Apart” portrays the story of a farmer, Okonkwo, who struggles to preserve his customs despite pressure from British colonizers. The story resonated in post-independent Africa, and the character became a household name in the continent.

Achebe’s stories included proverbs and tackled complex issues of African identity, nationalism and decolonization, adding to his books’ popularity.

He once wrote an essay criticizing Joseph Conrad, author of “Heart of Darkness,” as a racist for his depiction of Africans as savages. Conrad’s popularity took a hit after the accusation — a testament to Achebe’s credibility.

He also criticized corruption and poor governance in Africa, and had been known to reject accolades by the Nigerian government to protest political problems.

Penguin Books’ Twitter feed said: “Chinua Achebe: a brilliant writer, and a giant of African literature. Nelson Mandela said he ‘brought Africa to the rest of the world’. RIP.”

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan issued a statement paying tribute to Achebe as “Nigeria’s globally acclaimed writer, scholar, tutor, cultural icon, nationalist and artist of the very first rank.”

While Achebe will be greatly missed, Jonathan said, he will live on in the minds of present and future generations through his great works.

He added that Achebe’s “frank, truthful and fearless interventions in national affairs will be greatly missed at home … because while others may have disagreed with his views, most Nigerians never doubted his immense patriotism and sincere commitment to the building of a greater, more united and prosperous nation that all Africans and the entire black race could be proud of.”

Biafran War

Born in Nigeria in 1930, Achebe was raised in the large village of Ogidi, one of the first centers of Anglican missionary work in Eastern Nigeria, according to a biography posted by Penguin.

He was an early graduate of the respected University of Ibadan, established in Nigeria before the end of British colonial rule in 1960.

He worked in radio but in 1966 left his post during the national upheaval that led to the bloody Biafran War, in which Nigeria’s southeastern provinces attempted to secede.

Achebe joined the Biafran Ministry of Information and represented Biafra on diplomatic and fund-raising missions before the civil war came to an end after two and a half years.

He subsequently took up university posts in Nigeria and overseas, including teaching at Bard College in New York and Brown University in Rhode Island, where he was professor of Africana Studies.
Achebe’s 2012 memoir, “There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra,” draws on his recollections of that painful period in Nigeria’s past.

In an interview for the Paris Review of Books in 1994, Achebe spoke of how his early love of stories led him to realize that they reflected only the point of view of the white man. That spurred him to write himself.

“There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. … Once I realized that, I had to be a writer. I had to be that historian,” he said.

“It’s not one man’s job. It’s not one person’s job. But it is something we have to do, so that the story of the hunt will also reflect the agony, the travail — the bravery, even, of the lions.”